‘Women are not valued!’ WASPI woman recalls inability to get job at 61 ‘I didn’t feel old’
Thérèse Coffey confirms they are 'not reviewing state pension age'
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Although she got that job, when she was made redundant 10 years later ageist workplace attitudes proved impossible to overcome. She had previously expected to get her UK state pension at 60, but changes to the state pension age for women meant she faced a six-year wait for the payment.
Cheryl, from London, applied for 30 jobs every single week for 18 months, but only got the odd interview.
Years of experience in retail, printing and property did little to help.
“I really thought I’d be able to get a job easily. I didn’t even think of my age,” she said during an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk. “It really was terrible.”
“I didn’t think of myself as being old. Then I realised other people did.”
Eventually, she gave up looking and scraped by on her husband’s pension and her savings, which soon depleted.
“Money was tight. I couldn’t get unemployment benefit because I had savings, but they’re mostly gone now.”
Mother-of-two Cheryl is now 66 and has finally claimed her state pension but thinks it’s wrong to force people to wait so long, when so many employers won’t offer them jobs.
It is especially hard on women, she said. “We’re tossed aside like old rags. Women are not valued.”
Cheryl has estimated she’s missed out on £64,000 due to the state pension age changes for women.
She’s not the only person over 50 who believes age discrimination has impacted job prospects.
A huge 2.99 million over 50s (52 percent) who have searched for work in the past five years believe their age made employers less likely to hire them, according to a new report from Legal & General Retail Retirement (LGRR) and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).
The report found 46 percent of job seekers aged 50 to 59, and 64 percent of job seekers aged 60 to 69 felt their age put them at a disadvantage when looking for jobs.
Andrew Kail, CEO, Legal & General Retail Retirement, said: “With the state pension age rising to 68, and the prospect of planning for an income well into our 90s, many older workers simply can’t afford to retire.
“It’s therefore vital that we move towards a job market in which older people are not overlooked.”
Cheryl continued: “It’s all very well the Government pushing up our retirement age, but then how are we going to get a job? That’s the trouble.”
Several years ago, Cheryl joined the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign group, which protests against the lack of information given about changes to the state pension age for women.
The campaign received a huge boost in July, when the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman ruled that the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) should have given 1950s-born women more notice of moves to raise their state pension age.
The ombudsman said they suffered “maladministration”, with WASPI hoping it will recommend the Government pays compensation to the women affected.
A DWP spokesperson said: “The Government decided 25 years ago that it was going to make the state pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality.
“Raising state pension age in line with life expectancy changes has been the policy of successive administrations over many years.”
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